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19th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Of Service Draws About 150 Volunteers

Katie Zilcosky

About 150 people braved snowy roads and frigid temperatures Monday morning to donate, pack and distribute food and clothing at the Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service held in the Southwest Community Center.

United Way Labor Liaison Helen Hudson says January 21st works because it’s not only a day off.

"And as his son stated, 'It's a day on,'" said Hudson. "Which meant do some service. And then when I looked around at the community around me, I saw the need which gets greater every year. I said, you know what, we all have things that are in good conditions, and some of it new, that we could actually donate to our less fortuante brothers and sisters."

This is the 19th year of the day of service and Hudson says she’s watched the nearly two decades worth of growth.

"Actually it was my vision," said Hudson. "We started in one room with four people. We graduated to 150 folks volunteer and we had to spread it out into the Southwest Community Center into all of the rooms."

Volunteers worked to package coats, socks, diapers and other needed goods to distribute Monday to churches and shelters across the area. They also made sandwiches for We Rise Above the Streets and the Samaritan Center. While everything will be packed and distributed by the day’s end, Hudson says there’s always a need for volunteers.

"I think it's deeper than Martin Luther King Jr. Day," said Hudson. "There is a need year round. If anybody would like to volunteer, they can call Volunteer CNY, and we can always connect them to volunteer services. There's volunteer hours 365."

For a full list of volunteer opportunities in the area and details on how to get involved, visit Volunteer CNY's website.